Students returning from summer break may be shocked by the number of changes that have taken place since their last visit to the college.
Beginning with the construction of the new Industrial Technology Center at the end of last year, a number of improvements are being made to the Oregon City campus through a bond initiative approved in November 2014. The initiative first funded the renovation of the Harmony West building at the Harmony Campus, serving as the beginning to several stages of improvements that will take place over a several years period.
Following the completion of the Harmony West building, focus shifted to the construction of a new building on the Oregon City campus. Opened this term, the Industrial Technology Center serves as a new center for the manufacturing programs at the college, including manufacturing technology, computer aided manufacturing, the renewable-energy program and industrial maintenance technology.
Though the programs will remain largely the same, the move to the new building has opened up many new opportunities for manufacturing at the college. According to Mike Mattson, the department chair for manufacturing, the renewable energy program alone was previously scattered across three separate buildings.
“We’ve gone from a really unsuitable environment,” Mattson said, “a very crowded, old, unsuitable environment that was scabbed together out of the wing of Barlow hall that was built 40 some years ago as a diesel lab. We went from about 13,000 square feet in Barlow hall to 43,000 square feet. It’s significant.”
The building now showcases new advantages seen from the moment one steps foot through the doors. Large windows allowing a view of the machine shop immediately draw the eye, allowing those passing by a glance into the projects being created within.
The attention to detail within the building is also astonishing. One particularly interesting feature is also one of the most easily overlooked. Part of the second-floor wraps around the sides of the building’s lobby. The guard rail found here appears typical at first glance, but upon further inspection one can find information etched into the railing. Each section of the railing sports information pertaining to an element that is used in manufacturing, including a small depiction of its structure, marked by a number of circles. Below the railing, the metal that serves as the rail sports holes forming the structure of each element.
In addition to the construction of the new building, the bond initiative also allowed the manufacturing programs to upgrade their equipment. The old equipment, some of which was as old as 28 years old, had become outdated.
“When you’re trying to attract students to a program and you’re telling them how high tech it is, and they walk in and see this computer-controlled machine that looks like it has vacuum tubes in it, it’s a pretty hard sell,” said Mattson.
With the completion of the ITC building, focus has shifted to the next project enabled by the bond, the DeJardin expansion.
When it is completed, the DeJardin/Pauling Science Complex will be home to the colleges science programs, offering many new resources to the department including a number of upgraded facilities.
“Our main chemistry lab is over 40 years old and is very inadequate,” said Sue Goff, the Dean of Arts and Sciences. “We will have three new chemistry labs, three new biology labs, a lot of new student space to work in and some modern lab equipment.”
As with the ITC building, a focus of the expansion is to reorganize the program, giving it single home rather than having the sciences spread across multiple buildings on campus. According to Goff, the new building will house nearly all the science classes offered by the college, serving as a center for the sciences in much the same way the ITC building now acts as a hub for the manufacturing programs.
After the completion of the DeJardin expansion, the next project enabled by the bond will be the construction of a new Student Services and Community Commons to replace the Bill Brod Community Center currently available on the Oregon City campus. The new building will offer many of the same services that are available on campus now, such as veteran services, disabilities resources and career coaching, but all within a single location.
Perhaps the construction that has had the most direct, noticeable impact to most students and faculty at the college has been the construction of the new bus depot and reconstruction of the surrounding parking lot. The organization of the new depot has at least been received positively by one CCC student.
“It’s nice, it’s simple,” said Hunter McCarvilla.
Following the completion of the current projects outlined by the bond, the final step will involve a number of general improvements to the campus designed to reduce costs to the college. Some of these have or are being upgraded, including the elevators in a number of buildings, upgrades to the locker rooms and restrooms in Randall Hall in order to bring them up to Title IX standards and an extension to Meyers Road.
Though the campus has already experienced large changes since the bond was approved and will likely see more over the next couple of years, the changes appear to be largely positive. With any luck, this trend will continue, offering future students a better, more modern place to learn.